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After looking at a lot of plans and pictures of hundreds of tables I decided on a basic strategy, keep it simple stupid. I wanted a standard, full sized oval table with a padded pleather rail. Nothing fancy, no cupholders, no racetrack, no lights. I wanted a purple and black theme. I wanted suited purple poker cloth on the surface and black whisper vinyl on the rail.  

I made a master shopping list and started to gather the materials: 

Item Seller Price
(2) Sheets of 4 x 8 x 3/4 inch birch plywood, (you can use MDF or others but from the research I did real birch or pine plywood seems to be the best.) Home Depot $80
(3) Yards of Black Whisper Vinyl   (If you're male, be prepared to be uncomfortable in Joann's Fabrics. You'll get over it. If your single go regularly, there are lots of lonely ladies just dying to knit you some romance. Don't go without a coupon even though bringing one pretty much solidifies your homosexuality in all the shoppers minds. Google Joann's Fabrics Coupon to find a printable one.)  Joann's Fabrics $22 with 40% off coupon
(3) Yards of Suited Poker Cloth. There are tons of other choices. Many consider Poker Cloth the best. It has a nice slick, sturdy surface for the cards to slide across. $50
(3) Yards 1/4" closed cell foam 2-EO Volara for the main playing surface padding. I've heard carpet padding works great. Not the kind that's pressed together from scrap, the single piece smooth kind. $30
(3) Yards 1" Premium 60lb Rail Foam (This stuff costs more but rebounds better. Also, I bought one huge piece so I wouldn't have to glue any smaller pieces together. This makes building the rail much easier. You can save money and buy smaller green foam from Joann's, but being this my first time I played it safe.) $47
(1) Pair Folding Table Legs Lowes $20
(1) Can 3M 77 Spray Adhesive Staples $16
(10) Cup Holders, not attached, the kind that slide under the rail E-bay $30
Total $295

Tools I used:

- Skil Jig Saw, I bought this new for $60 at Home Depot. Some people who are more comfortable with woodworking prefer using a router
- Craftsman Belt Sander
- Clamps, I bought (8), $3.00 clamps at Home Depot
- Craftsman Cordless Power Drill, various bits
- Box of #8 x 1 1/4" Wood Screws (The length is important here, anything longer will punch through the surface)
- Manual Staple Gun, I'd recommend an electric or even better an air powered. The Porter Cable US58 is the Cadillac. 
- A Hammer, mostly to pound in the half-lodged staples
- A razor blade and a good sharp, paring knife
- Gorilla Wood Glue
- Peg Board Scraps.. You will see what I mean..

On to the Next Step